Step out of the victim mindset: it’s your responsibility to live your life and how you work as a teacher. Decide what your choices are; people who see themselves as victims think they have no choices. Everyone always has choices, however dire the situation may appear to be in your school at that time. The first thing you need to do to get out of the victim mindset is to change your thinking from: “It’s really unfair and I don’t have the time,” to, “What are my choices here?”. It’s often as simple as that to make yourself feel better about things. You have taken a positive step and that will be the first one of many.
Tell people firmly and politely that you won’t have time or be able to do something at work. This could be your head of department, or it could even be your class. Both of them will respect you for telling the truth. Headteachers are not impressed by someone who just says “yes” all the time, they are just grateful that someone is willing to do extra work. Saying no to something can be hard but if you know you are going to have to say no then practise what you will say beforehand and stick to your guns. The first time you do it will be the hardest and you can always offer to help out on another occasion.
Steer clear of staff room politics and gossip. It wastes time and is often negative and unproductive. Be your own judge of character
Remember, you may enjoy it but school is work. It’s great to enjoy your job, which means that at first you won’t resent all the extra time you put into it. But if you keep on putting that extra effort in, you will start to resent it, and so will the people around you. Also if you put in lots of extra effort and don’t put anything back into you then that is when you are at risk of burning out. Your brain is like a bank; withdraw too much from it without making the odd deposit and you will feel a deficit. Your body will tell you you are stressed.
2. Put aside some time every week where you can just be yourself. You don’t have to do something active like go out for a run, (although that’s good to get the endorphins working which help to make you feel good.) You might like to meditate, read a book for an hour or simply just sit and stare.
As teachers, we are sometimes guilty of moving in quite a small network of teacher friends/colleagues. A science department might, for instance, work together in a group of labs and prep rooms located together in a different part of the school. They then will probably socialise together and have lunch together. There is much to learn from integrating more and talking to teachers and support staff in other departments. Get to know other people and be interested in them.
This post will form part of a series of posts under the label of How to have a brilliant day at school….for teachers.
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